Lotus Alex Job Racing Evora GT Team Works Hard Toward Progress
MONTEREY, CALIF. (May 11, 2012) - Lotus Alex Job Racing worked hard for two days on the No. 23 Lotus Alex Job Racing/Battery Tender/Yokohama/Lotus Evora GT and were rewarded with a qualifying run that will see Bill Sweedler and Townsend Bell start from the fifth row in GT for tomorrow's running of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) Monterey presented by Patron and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
The team unloaded the Lotus Evora GT with an updated motor. In the first practice, after minimal running, the team had to change the power-plant and revert to a 2011 spec engine. The result was a full day of work, missing valuable practice time, but making it out for qualifying. In the qualifying session, Townsend Bell (San Luis Obispo, Calif.) was able to post a time of 1:24.473, getting the car within two seconds of the top GT qualifier, which is a high-water-mark for the Lotus Evora in international GT competition. With the exhaustive work by the crew, co-driver Sweedler (Westport, Conn.) has yet to see any time behind the wheel.
"It has been a crazy day," Bell said. "The work that the crew has put in was a lot more than we expected to be doing this weekend. The Lotus Evora GT is an awesome car to drive. The core characteristics of braking and handling are there, but we have a lot more work to do. What a huge effort by the crew to get us out for qualifying. I am pleased with the qualifying run, especially with minimal running. We are learning this car here, without many laps in practice. Qualifying was the first time that I really leaned on the car."
Sweedler has yet to post laps in the Evora GT.
"We're cautiously optimistic," Sweedler said. "We are learning a lot about this car. We have been doing updates on the overall handling since Long Beach. We are still down on power, but we have to make up for it with handling. Lotus is known for having a good handling and braking car. That is what we have. Townsend did a great job in qualifying. We have had less than 15 laps all weekend. There is more to come from this car in the future."
Team principal Alex Job had his team working hard since they unloaded on Wednesday.
"Every lap is precious to us as we develop this Lotus Evora," Job said. "We had a new engine in it when we unloaded and then ran into some problems with the injection, and we had to revert back to a 2011 version. The crew did a great job to change the engine and get us out for qualifying. Townsend did an unbelievable job to post a great time for this car with less than 15 laps all weekend. To put in a time that is only two-seconds off the pole GT BMW in the toughest class in the series, I hope, says that there is a lot of potential in this car for the future. We just have to get it out."